While most people using online dating websites are genuine, charlatans comprise an uncomfortable proportion.According to Consumer Fraud Reporting.org, as much as 30 percent of online personalities are bogus. Because, says Donna Andersen, of Egg Harbor Township, N.Their members all go through criminal background checks, but filtering fraud is not guaranteed.

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Before getting the company's seal of approval, participating daters must physically go to one of their more than 50 locations and get checked, screened and cleared.

Still, says Falzone, "It's an ongoing fight that doesn't end." What's a dater to do?

"Some questions seem innocent, like asking what your mother's name is or what your parents do for a living.

They may ask for your home or work address to send you a gift." Such tidbits are invaluable currency for identity thieves.

Use the computer advantageously, says Jennifer Leuer, general manager for Protect My ID.

"Google their names, check them out on [social networking website] Linked In or use the Net's white pages." As you're investigating, make your own profile mysterious.

Scams vary Falzone contends that convincing people to charge up their credit cards is surprisingly easy.

The thief will befriend an online dater, then "using stolen credit cards, he'll send jewelry, roses and claim he's traveling.

"They meet young, beautiful women on dating sites who are supposedly looking for love from older wealthy individuals," says Falzone.